Quote of the moment

"I have to tell it again and again: I have no doctrine. I only point out something. I point out reality, I point out something in reality which has not or too little been seen. I take him who listens to me at his hand and lead him to the window. I push open the window and point outside. I have no doctrine, I carry on a dialogue." Martin Buber

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

ONE WEEK REMINDER * Gilman International Scholarship Deadline, October 6, 2009

Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program
Spring & Summer 2010 Online Application

The Gilman International Scholarship Program provides awards of up to $5,000 for U.S. undergraduate students to study abroad for up to one academic year. The
program aims to diversify the kinds of student who study abroad and the countries and regions where they go. The program serves students who have been under-represented in study abroad which includes but is not limited to: students with high financial need, community college students, students in under-represented fields such as the sciences and engineering, students from diverse ethnic backgrounds, students attending minority-serving institutions, and students with disabilities.

The Gilman Program seeks to assist students from a diverse range and type of two-year and four-year public and private institutions from all 50 states.

Eligibility: Students must be receiving a Federal Pell Grant at the time of
application or during the time they are studying abroad and cannot be studying abroad in a country currently under a U.S. Department of State Travel Warning or in Cuba.

The Gilman International Scholarship Program is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and administered by the Institute of International Education.

The Gilman Program is pleased to be able to offer over 1700 scholarships during the Academic Year 2009-2010. Additionally, the Gilman Program is excited to have launched a special pilot summer award cycle for students participating in Summer 2010 study abroad programs. A limited number of summer awards will be available to students majoring in a Science, Technology, Engineering or Math field who meet the program's standard eligibility criteria.

For more information regarding this exciting initiative, a Special Summer Podcast and Informational Fact Sheet can be found on the Gilman website at

Furthermore, a limited number of $3000 Critical Need Language Supplements are available for students studying a critical need language for a total possible award of $8000. A list of eligible languages can be found on the Gilman website
at http://www.iie.org/gilman.

Spring 2010 & Summer 2010 applications are now being accepted online and are due October 6, 2009. For more information about the Gilman Scholarship, full eligibility criteria, application deadlines & timeline, and application process,
please visit the Gilman website at www.iie.org/gilman, contact the Gilman
Program at 713-621-6300 ext. 25 or email gilman@iie.org .

There has never been a better time to apply for a Gilman Scholarship!

Gilman International Scholarship Program
Institute of International Education
Houston, TX


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

World Digital Library Home

The World Digital Library (WDL) makes available on the Internet, free of charge and in multilingual format, significant primary materials from countries and cultures around the world.

The principal objectives of the WDL are to:

* Promote international and intercultural understanding;
* Expand the volume and variety of cultural content on the Internet;
* Provide resources for educators, scholars, and general audiences;
* Build capacity in partner institutions to narrow the digital divide within and between countries.

World Digital Library Home

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In light of the leaders of the world gathering at the UN and the meetings in Geneva for the Convention for the Rights of People with Disabilities this video on the need and right of individuals for employment is a must see:


Learn more about the UN International Labour Organization at: http://www.ilo.org/

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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Seasonal Cold or Swine Flu? Moms Face Tough Calls

U.S. News reporter Deborah Kotz wonders in her "On Women" column how to tell the difference between H1N1 and the common cold. Richard Wenzel, a swine flu expert and former president of the Infectious Diseases Society of America notes in Chile, about half of those with confirmed H1N1 had no fever; many just had a headache and runny nose.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Flu Season - Not Good for Man or Beast

If it's fall then it must be flu season. When I worked as a teacher I always made certain I had my flu shot. Winter flu caught from germy kids was a consistent hazard of the job. Even with my immune system bolstered by vaccines and supplemented with daily reteaching of how to blow a nose, dispose of tissues, and wash hands, I frequently ended up not only with the flu, but also pneumonia.

Equally challenging was keeping family members healthy before we would take off for a trip. When my daughter, Kristina, was six we had arranged for her to stay the summer with her grandmother/abuela in Spain. We finalized her itinerary in May and purchased the tickets with plans to send her off the day after school. Of course no one planned for the outbreak of Chicken Pox that flew through the entire school, literally wiping out entire grades of children and teachers alike. Weighing the consequences of Kristina picking up a germ from her classmate or teacher, it was decided that she would be home schooled that last month and happily made her flight in good health.

This approach was 180 degrees opposite of what my own mother did to me. Being a woman who always valued education, she felt that we should be ill on our own time so we would not miss a day of school. Again Chicken Pox was making its way through my school. When my mom got wind of that horrendous news she calculated the estimated incubation time coordinated it with the school vacation time and then sent me off to go play with the most infectious child so I would be conveniently ill during spring break.

Today, the flu season has taken on a rather chilling effect and is no laughing matter. As South America (Chile specifically) is coming out of its winter flu season we in the USA are heightening our concern regarding the H1N1 flu (previously known as the swine flu.) The World Health Organization (WHO) reported as of 31 of July 2009, all continents are affected by the pandemic with 168 countries and overseas territories/communities announcing at least one laboratory confirmed case. Chile's infection count rose to more than 10,000 cases of the H1N1 virus according to a Reuters report, the most cases identified in any South American country, although mortality remained low. September 11, the Centers for the Control of Disease posted their updated Map of the 2009 H1N1 Flu: International Situation. The good news is Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that while the vaccine for H1N1 is not likely to be available until mid-October, the vaccine for seasonal flu is available now at many doctors' offices, pharmacies, health clinics, and supermarkets.

However, this year, I am not the first in our family to get his flu shot. Rather, Samson, my Maltese, has that honor for Canine Influenza, or dog flu. The “canine influenza virus” is caused by a specific Type A influenza virus, H3N8 influenza virus (not a human influenza virus) and is very contagious among dogs. The symptoms of this respiratory illness in dogs are cough, runny nose and fever, however, a small proportion of dogs can develop severe disease. When I heard Sammy cough today I worried that HE was the first one in our family that got the flu. With the horrendous canine influenza outbreak in our area that has closed our animal shelter and affected our veterinary clinics and caused officials to post notices at the dog parks, I rushed him to the vet right away. And of course this just before we send him off with my husband and son to start their lives in Chile.

The check up at the vet assured us that while Sammy has a strange cough and a clear lightly runny nose, it may not be Canine Influenza. To be certain however, the vet took blood to test for white blood count, took a nasal swab to check for the actual virus, and gave him his first in a series of two vaccines. He is also on antibiotics and an immune system booster. This dog WILL be healthy for when we face the USDA and SAG with his travel papers. Now here's hoping I can assure the rest of us remain as healthy!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Starbucks any more

COFFEE. There is nothing like it in the United States. We have shops that specialize in the creation of a brew that surpasses our sensorial fantasies. We Americans schedule our day to include our treasured coffee breaks. There's nothing like slipping away to our favorite coffee shop and asking the coffee barista to bring us a freshly brewed cup to prepare us for the day or to recharge us after a grueling few hours at the office. What would a good meal be without the waitress assuring our coffee cups never dipped below the half-full mark?

Now imagine the culture shock Americans in Chile face when the cup of coffee they ordered at a restaurant, offered at a Chilean's home and served in their offices is not the aromatic brew we crave, but rather a pot of hot water, a tiny spoon, and a jar of NESCAFÉ?!

It is a false assumption that in every South American country, coffee reigns supreme, meaning that every country produces and exports green coffee beans and of course, everyone offers up a premium cup of Joe. However, a search on Coffee Universe and a document prepared by the Embassy of India of Chile's Agricultural Policy indicates it's not so! "A few agricultural items are fully imported, the main ones being bananas, cotton, black tea and COFFEE."

But not to worry my fellow Gringos and Gringas. Chileans have begun to embrace the "Coffee Culture". Thirty Starbucks are now located in Santiago alone.

In fact, Chile has expanded its coffee culture by leaps and bounds, creating its own uniquely Chilean institution to titillate their senses with Café con piernas or coffee with legs. Coffee with legs makes coffee drinking a social event for adults only, causing gringos to wonder if we have been culturally repressed in our enjoyment of coffee?

Despite Chile's straight-laced culture, or perhaps as a reaction to it, café con piernas began to spring up after Pinochet's dictatorship in 1990. Café con piernas serves only coffee, no food or alcohol and close in the evenings. HOW this brew is served in their establishments is what distinguishes it from Starbucks. Gone are the barista's slacks by Dockers, the long sleeves rolled up to prevent coffee stains on cuffs, the green aprons--and I mean this literally! Café con piernas baristas serve their coffee Las Vegas style using pasties in place of aprons. The scantily clad waitresses with more than just their legs showing pose while pouring coffee for its male office-worker clientele. Here, the daily grind has been improved for the local businessman with the addition of a little bump and grind. This definitely puts a new spin on going out for coffee!

To learn more about Café con piernas, view the following videos: (Warning for younger, sensitive viewers--scantily clad baristas are shown in videos)

Journeyman Pictures Documentary presentation in English on YouTube

Spanish Videos:
"Cafe con piernas" en Santiago de Chile

A report in Spanish that Cafés con piernas do not feel an economic crises:

2008- The Transformation of Chile

In my quest to learn more about my new home I discovered this presentation of President Michelle Bachelet to the University of California, Berkeley's Center of Latin American Studies. President Bachelet discusses the current challenges Chile faces and what the new Chile-California agreement means for her country.She challenges the audience to look at not only the changes in Chile, but also other Latin American Countries. Moderated by Professor Harley Shaiken.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Metro to La Moneda

The Metro is much like the one in Washington DC. It is very clean, very efficient. What was remarkable about the station in La Moneda was the art displayed. What I did not notice was access for individuals with disabilities. If there was an elevator it was not obvious. A person in a wheel chair would have a hard time of it getting down the stairs and through the turn still.

Many Metro stations have underground farmer's markets as well as mini-mall shopping.

Read the 2004 Report on accessibility by RICKERT, T, C VENTER,and D MAUNDE:
Accessible Transport Trends In Latin America. TRANSED 2004. 10th International Conference on Mobility and Transport for Elderly and Disabled People, Hamamatsu City, Japan, 23 - 26 May 2004.

FEM: Expatriate Global Mobility Portal - Avoiding Tax Traps with Short-Term Assignments

I recall while we were living in Colombia how we counted down the calendar knowing that anything can happen when out of country--including being sent home before your time was up. You never wanted to go home on an unscheduled vacation time for fear the company would revoke your return trip, pack out your belongings for you and send them on to you in the states. One family I met in Chile had their belongings sorted into two separate rooms before they took off for home leave: Room 1- Items to keep/return home and Room 2- items to toss or donate.

For this reason expats often visit surrounding countries rather than return home. As long as we don't touch home soil we are free to see the world "tax free."

FEM: Expatriate Global Mobility Portal - Avoiding Tax Traps with Short-Term Assignments

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Stage Two-The Stuff of Life

“At the Lord ’s command Moses recorded the stages in their journey. This is their journey by stages.” Numbers 33:2

Cataloguing my life on Craigslist has given me an interesting perspective on the last 10 years. My husband's contract allows for 18,000 pounds of stuff to be either stored or shipped. The rest we will need to pay for in overage or place it in a new home. It has taken me nearly the entire month of August to first find and pull out the essential items that have defined us and then determine if that definition really has any significant meaning--worth shipping or storing.

Step one was to determine what was to go with us to Chile, what was to be stored, and what was to be sold. Those treasures deemed unessential were first listed on Craigslist and finally over the Labor Day weekend were gathered and displayed on the front yard to be picked over by neighbors and strangers alike in our moving sale. Yet as these bargain hunters flocked about my unnecessaries and unwanted I found myself standing in their defense defiantly defending their value as precious treasures.

The house is nearly empty now. The stuff of my life whittled down to two piles: mementos too delicate and precious for travel to be placed in storage and items for shipping to include the stuff too costly or comfortable to be replaced.

Now I wait for my husband to return home for a short visit to sort HIS stuff and get ready for yard sale number two. I think I'll advertise it The T-Zone Sale (T for Testosterone). He was generous enough to allow me to sell off many of his tools, but not without spending the entire day with me on Skype reviewing each and every item recalling how it "Saved the Day!" He nearly cried when he witnessed his radial arm saw being sold. The gentleman was wonderful about it though. He later sent me an email assuring me he would treasure the saw and give it a good home.

Lessons learned for the T-Zone Sale:
* The newspaper offers free ads announcing the yard sale to run for three days. If the sale is on Saturday make sure the ad runs Wednesday through Friday as many people will not read the Saturday paper because they have left before the crack of dawn to meet you at the door as you are bringing items out.

*If the newspaper has a commuter edition make sure it is listed there as well and don't forget the online version of the local paper.

* Have the dollar box of stuff for women, children, and men. The guys had the greatest time rummaging through the box of treasures for a clamp, an old hammer, a box of screws, a bag of electrical thingies.

* Have a friend there with you, especially in the early morning. I thought I could do it all myself--WRONG! It was just plain crazy. Thankfully I had friends to help bring out the items, watch the till, and most importantly, hold down the fort while I took a bathroom break. I was truly blessed to have my neighbors come and help me out.

* I had a money box that was easy to carry about. But I found that using my husband's carpenter's apron worked better. I was able to have the money at hand and make change while answering questions about the items at the same time.

* Have fun and enjoy meeting your neighbors-- I would never have known my back fence neighbor's name was Diego were it not for him coming to purchase my rocking chair with my initial D carved in it by my husband.

Below are some sites I used to learn more about stuff and yard sales:

The Story of Stuff

YouTube Hints


Yard Sale Tips

Garage Sale Tips

How To Operate A Successful Garage Sale